Friday, October 30, 2009

It's like the Price is Right, except with candy, and without the taxes

So, if your Harvest Party had cool games like this, you'd skip the whole "Trick or Treating" thing, too, wouldn't you?

Matt and Chance have worked hard on the concept of a couple new games for our school harvest party this year - in addition to the games they've already made. Last year was Plinko and a Bowling Pin Ring Toss. The year before that it was a jail.

This year, it's a new Football Toss, a Pumpkin Beanbag Toss, and Shuffleboard.

Chance, big on the whole "idea" part of the process, was mysteriously absent once we started painstakingly painting the pictures. I think they turned out pretty good.

What do you think? If you could play games like this in exchange for candy, would that be a good trade for freezing cold trick or treating?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It all started at the Space Needle

"Well, if I had my own amusement park, the Space Needle would be in it . . ."

"Well, I'd have Timber of Terror and a bunch of really cool roller coasters . . ."

Sounds like good dinner question fodder to me. And so we did.

If you could design your own amusement park, what would be in it?
  1. After Shock (roller coaster at Silverwood)
  2. The Space Needle
  3. A Star Wars booth with working light-sabers
  4. GINORMOUS swing
  5. Target shooting (of course, with a .22 instead of a BB gun)
  6. Doughy elephant ear booth
  7. A rock star booth
  8. A train ride (a la Silverwood), combined with the Cabela's target shooting range - everyone gets a target shooting gun to shoot (infrared) targets throughout the train ride.
  9. A tidal wave pool
  10. The Indiana Jones ride from Disneyland
  11. A Kid Zone - lots of toys, and servants to bring them to you
  12. The Over/Under roller coaster
  13. Steak on a Stick food stand
  14. The Silverwood Log Ride - without the 'pay a quarter to squirt the riders' option
  15. Bunjee Trampoline, while dodging a sniper bullet
  16. Super Speed Waterslides, with a loop
  17. The Flusher (think swirling inner tube ride)
  18. Huckleberry Funnel Cake stand
  19. Coyote Hunting Simulator (with real coyote fur)
  20. Creme Brulee booth
  21. Baked Potato toss and eat
  22. Ferris wheel with NO LINE
  23. McRestaurant Roller Coaster - this would take drive-thru to the extreme!
  24. Super-Sized Go Kart track
  25. Eiffel Tower sized Ferris wheel, takes 24 hours to get all the way around, meals included

Okay, it got a bit silly, there at the end, didn't it? Still, would you come to our amusement park? What would you add if it was yours? What is your favorite theme park ride or attraction?

Monday, October 26, 2009

You were right, Forest

It is like a box of chocolates. Otherwise, how do you explain this?

Did y'all even know we had a Nudist Colony in Washington state?

How is a Nudist Colony "family friendly"? Am I the only one who thinks this is an oxymoron?

A 5K for nudists?

Apparently they struggled for participation and had many t-shirts to give away from their booth at the Issaquah Salmon Days.

I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want to run a 5K without a stitch of clothing - not even a sports' bra. That's a brave nudist, let me tell ya.

To top it all off, this has become Colton's favorite sleepy-shirt.

Yeah. Nice, huh?
I think I just got the yucky, orange-cream chocolate - wrong in so many ways . . .

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Getting to know your friends - the real quiz

Okay, so you know those e-mail "Getting to Know You" quizzes that you see every once in awhile? I've sent some. I've responded to some. Most of the time, they are fun and informative.

Until now.

I have found the surefire way to "get to know my friends". Better than I've ever known them before.

In one simple, multiple-choice question.

You have two snack items in the cupboard . . .

A box of Jolly Time Healthy Pop Butter popcorn.

A stray pouch of Jolly Time Mallow Magic, leftover from a Mallow Magic pop gone wrong.

Does adding the Mallow magic marshmallow flavor pouch to the somewhat stale, cardboard-ish, Healthy Pop snack:

a. Simply enhance the flavor to make it edible.

b. Cancel out any healthy benefits from the "Healthy Pop".

c. Ewwww. Marshmallows on popcorn? Are you that desperate?

d. Why didn't you invite me over to help with this experiment? How can you call me a friend?
Your answer in the comments is much anticipated . . .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How clean is clean?

Okay, if you've read this blog for any length of time, you were ever my roommate, or you're related to me, you know well my constant battle with the housecleaning. It's definitely not my strength. If this is the thorn in my flesh, then the devil has chosen well, because I think it's something I'll never conquer.

You've seen the scraproom at it's finest.

You've followed along as I try to finish up household projects.

You may have even voted on how often you think I clean my counters.

But, even with all that, I doubt you know much about the dredges of my house. I still only reveal what would be considered an "acceptable" amount of uncleanliness.

Here's a bit of an example:

Last November, we went to Mexico for my brother's wedding. Matt's mom came and stayed with the boys. The week before, we did all the regular "Company's Coming" type cleaning. Not necessarily deep cleaning, because I don't even think I know how to do that, but just the general stuff - dusting, mopping, toilets, vacuum, dishes, counters, etc.

We thought we did pretty good. And, we probably did.

Then, we came home.

And, a few things in my house sparkled like they hadn't in a long time.

Like even my DRYER knobs!!

Things hadn't looked this good since the days we thought we had money and hired a cleaner every two weeks.

I said to Matt, "Our house is really clean."

"I know," he replies, in a proud tone. "It feels really good, huh?"

"You don't understand," I say. "It's cleaner than when we cleaned it and thought it was clean. Even the washing machine is clean!"

"Ohhhhh. That's kind of embarrassing."

I chose not to embrace the embarrassment. I chose instead to receive the blessing, shout out my good fortune, and enjoy washer and dryer knobs that actually turned easily without all that lint and gunk stacked behind them.

Besides, my angel mother-in-law also did laundry, including FOLDING (Darla), and folded Matt's underwear. At 6 years old, this isn't such a big deal. The look on his face at 37 years old was priceless! The way I figured it, he had more embarrassment to claim than I did!

Today, I am reminded again of my shortcomings.

Colton is sick, and we are home for the day. I spilled some Cocoa Krispies on the floor, and decided it was enough of a spill to warrant getting the broom out. Woah.

With results like I experienced, I thought I'd probably better get the mop out, too. WOAH.

Have y'all ever Swiffer mopped? It's a whole different experience than dunking the mop back into the bucket and bringing it out "clean". The pad stays on the Swiffer, collecting dirt until you throw it away and put on a clean one. Yeah. You get to SEE all the dirt that you just swiffed off your floor. Yuck.

So, with all these great results, I thought I'd move onto the bathroom. My bathroom is also my laundry room. And, as I was working my merry way around the place, I found myself cleaning the top of the washer and dryer - including the KNOBS!

Suddenly, I came to my senses. What am I doing? I'm not a knob cleaner! Sure, now that I know what a clean knob feels like, I appreciate it when it happens. But, on the other hand:

There's a scraproom to organize.

There's blogging to do.

And Facebooking to catch up on.

Not to mention the medical records I'm supposed to be working on.

Cleaning, schmeaning.

Those knobs will be there tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

I can do it, mom!
Be careful when you pick your pumpkin - you must be able to carry it to the car and also into the classroom. -Mrs. Munoz

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Take Action

Grant County averages 10 abortions per month.


Every month.

If we were talking about the number of pieces of Halloween candy I'll steal from my boys' sacks in the next couple weeks, that would be a small number.

But we're not. We're talking about lives. The most vulnerable lives among us today.

And to me, that number is HUGE.

Last night, Matt and I partnered with caring citizens and churches in our area at the Crossroads Resource Center banquet.

We took action.

We did something to help.

You can, too.

Even if it's only by committing to prayer.

You can help, too.


Psalm 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Groundhog Day, continued

So, Sunday morning, we all sleep until about 9:00. Oh, the joy and beauty that is embodied in a hotel room with a comfortable bed and room-darkening blinds. I had no idea what time it was when I finally rolled out of bed. I think there will be room-darkening blinds in heaven.

Anyway, we headed downstairs for our free hotel breakfast. This is where I give a shout out to Embassy Suites - we love the pool and we love that you cook us a hot breakfast in the morning, not some stale pastry bar that's supposed to pass for morning sustenance.

Back up to the room to pack up. Colton, once he sees his swimsuit being packed, suddenly has the urge for one last hotel swim before we go. But there's no time. He doesn't know why, but there's no time. A small fit ensues.

We're off to Bell Square for a bit of shopping and hopefully iPod fixing. Via Starbucks, of course! We didn't have such great luck with the iPod, but found the LEGO store on the way to the Apple Store. Just when they thought it couldn't get any better, the boys were in heaven again. For almost an hour, we wandered the store, looking at all the LEGO possibilities. Chance filled a small container with LEGOs, and purchased them with his weekend allowance. Colton couldn't decide, and didn't really want to part with any of his money, so he just did a lot of dreaming. Until we were headed back to the parking lot. Then, he was really wishing he had spent some money in the LEGO store and could we please go back. No, we could not. Another small fit.

Back on I-90, we head toward the city. At the west end of I-90, we wait about one hour in traffic. There's a game at Qwest Field, and the cars are bumper to bumper.

It is not until we turn into the parking lot at the stadium and I hand the boys two t-shirts (Seahawks) and tell them to put them on that they realize we are headed to a professional football game. Both boys, in hearing snippets of planning for the weekend, had actually guessed that we were going to the game, but after getting no reaction or validation, decided maybe they were wrong.

They weren't.

We sat on the 40-yard line on the Seattle side. Seattle won 41 - 0, and the stadium roared the whole afternoon. What a fantastic experience!

Colton finally let go of some of his Seattle cash - for a foam finger. That he promptly turned into a machine gun. And spent the rest of the game shooting at people throughout the stadium. Whatever.

After the game, and a short (ish) wait in the parking lot, we were headed east again. Exhausted, hungry, and totally filled to the brim with all the fun. It took the boys about 1 mile to fall asleep. Neither wanted to wake up for dinner. But they did.

Neither wanted to wake up for school on Monday. But they did. Cause they had stories to tell - about a weekend that they both wanted to live over and over and over for the rest of their lives. That's how we do it. At least sometimes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I want to live this day over, and over, and over again for the rest of my life.

That's the mark of a good weekend, right there. That was Colton's wish on our way home from a fun weekend in Seattle.

Some highlights:

Pack up and take off early Saturday morning for Chance's last football game. He had a great game! Played running back with a few good carries. Got some tackles. Tried hard. Overall had a fantastic season and improved a TON!

Next, we hit the road and head west.

A stop in Ellensburg for lunch at a fun little service station turned diner. The boys spent the whole time looking at all the details of the model train running around above us.

We dropped Matt off at Starbucks to hit on college chicks and wait for his dad - we headed for the big city.

By Issaquah, life in the backseat of the car was getting a bit hairy, so we stopped at Target for some sniffly meds for Colton and found Jamba Juice to quench our thirst. Where oh where has Jamba Juice been all our lives? YUMMMM!

Quenched and refreshed, we hit the road again, and headed for Ballard Locks. We watched a few batches of boats come through from Puget Sound into Lake Washington, and then headed across to the fish ladder.

At the fish ladder, there was a tiered, grassy park area. The boys couldn't wait to run up and down. Of course, I've got the camera, hoping to get some good pics of the boys in the big city. I thought I was looking for pictures of them doing big city stuff.

But, when they got to the top and begged me to let them roll down, I couldn't resist. In my mind, I kept saying "Don't be the grass stain mom. They are boys! Let them be boys! Grass stains wash out. It's not all about perfect pictures."

And, thank goodness, I was right! But, I got some pretty fun pictures anyway!

Then, we were off to the Space Needle. The boys had never been to the top, and it had been a long time for me, so it was a grand adventure. They loved looking through the binoculars, and using the remote control camera that was in the lobby.

Meanwhile, Matt had followed us west with his dad and some friends - but they had their own agenda. He called us from the yacht. Yep, I said yacht. That used to be owned by the Onassis family (think Jackie O). He learned quickly that when you are on the former Onassis yacht, the term "dingy" is relative. Very relative.

He got to sit in the club section at the UW game, complete with free food, drinks, Starbucks, and fantastic seats. It was also a fantastic game, so hooray for Matt!

After our Space Needle expedition, we were exhausted and hungry. So, we headed to our hotel. Ordering pizza room service and swimming in the hotel pool complete with waterfall were almost as exciting to the boys as the rest of the day. We all crashed, only the adults knowing what the next day held . . .

Friday, October 9, 2009

School Days

Boy, we continue to be lucky with the school pics. I may be a bit biased, but I think I've got some pretty handsome boys :)
Check out how much they've grown up since last year.
How about you - are you lucky with school pics?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

So, this is what my scrap room looks like right now. I'm not proud. You have no idea how many "Before & After" blogs I've planned in my head - always with the Before pictures, never quite making it to the After.

It can get a bit discouraging.

Until now.

This is what I found amidst the mess a few days ago.

Thanks for this mess!
It's amazing the treasures that come out of this room. Truly like a diamond out of coal.
Thank you for your hard work!

Nope, girls. Sorry. This one's taken. He's my one-of-a-kind.

Thanks, babe! I love you :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My new motto - I'm staying a waist level

DISCLAIMER - get ready, I'm feeling deep today. Real deep.

We love to spend time in the big Wave Pool whenever we go to Silverwood. The pool is graduated, and goes from 0' to 5' deep. At least, when there are no waves. Once the wave machine starts going, if you are in the 5' section, you are bobbing up and down on the huge swells - sometimes touching, sometimes flailing.

This is fine when having fun the pool. Not so great in regular life.

A friend asked me yesterday if I was keeping my head above water? She is someone I work with, who has been patiently awaiting the answers to some questions pertinent to her job, that I've been putting on the back burner because something more important always comes up.

My answer to her? I always have my head above water, but these dang waves are hitting from every direction and slapping me in the face! In the same e-mail, I may or may not have called the Salesmen that work for our company the cause of said waves, but that's another subject entirely!

Then, I got to thinking.

This is where it gets deep.

Why do I always think I have to be in so deep that my head is barely above water? Waves notwithstanding?

Yes, I can do that.

Of course, I'll get that information.

No problem, I'd love to be on another committee.

And the water level keeps rising. And rising. And rising.

And, on a calm day, it's all manageable. Head above water. Treading water. Heck, probably even making some progress.

But, on stormy days, with my head perpetually so close to danger, I'm fighting off that drowning feeling. And it gets a little overwhelming, trying to accomplish anything when all you can do sometimes is just fight for every breath.

So, I've made a decision. Not sure how yet to accomplish it, but I'm gonna try.

I'm going to spend the majority of my time at about waist deep. My feet on a firm foundation. Ready to absorb any waves that come my way.

And, for the days I have to dive in the deep end? I'm gonna use the floaties, and feel no shame for it. Prayer floaties - of course. Friend help floaties - absolutely. Drive through dinner floaties - when I need to. Date night floaties - I'll never turn them down.

So, I guess be warned my friends. Don't offer your floatie if you really don't mean it. Because I may be in the deep end that day, and I'm gonna take it.

On the flip side, since I'm gonna be spending most of my time waist deep, I'll be throwing you my floatie as often as I can. Be ready to catch it.

So, how about you? Are you above water? Who are your floaties? Wanna be one of mine?